Experts worry over poor air quality

Posted on:

The Asian Age

City fails to improve despite temperature rise, clearer sky, which reduce pollution

Despite a rise in temperature and a clearer sky, the city has once again recorded ‘poor’ air quality on Wednesday. This has raised concern among medical experts, as continuous exposure to pollution may lead to respiratory problems.

“Owing to high pollution, we are seeing a high number of chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD) cases, especially among children and the elderly.

Many young children between the age group of four and 10 years are suffering from asthma,” said Dr Susheel Bindroo, consultant pulmonology, critical care, Jaslok Hospital and research centre. On Wednesday, as per the data of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting.

This, even as the temperature in the city has increased with clearer sky, which helps in decreasing air pollution, said experts.

The city recorded Air Quality Index (AQI) of 230 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/m3). Of the nine air quality measuring stations in Mumbai, Malad and Andheri recorded the highest air pollution.

Moreover, the concentration level of particulate matter of size 2.5 (PM 2.5) that is the most dangerous air pollutant showed above 230ug/m3 at these two stations. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), the AQI below 100 is generally thought of as satisfactory.

When AQI values are above 100, the air quality is considered to be unhealthy at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher. As per experts, carcinogen in diesels get into the lungs, which causes respiratory problems.

“Minute particles get into the blood streams and get deposited in our respiratory organs causing COPD,” said Dr Bindroo.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, around 30 per cent of the lung cancer in the world is caused because of air pollution.

“In 2014, out of the total cancer cases six per cent were related to lung cancer,” said Dr Kriti Chadha, Divisional Head, Oncology, Surgical Pathology, Metropolis Healthcare, one of India’s largest diagnostic laboratory chains.

“But in 2015, the number had doubled and a large number of cases were related to pollution,” Dr.Chadha added.